Thursday, August 25


I've been an inveterate fan of Peggy Noonan for years now and seldom take issue with her. She's a wonderfully gifted writer and, to me, usually makes good sense and in an intelligible manner, which is both her gift and her strong suit. She oftentimes writes about exactly what her readers are thinking, but expresses it so much better than they do; and they delight in and savor her ability to do so.

But her most recent column is without a doubt the most facile piece of writing she's ever published. Goodness, she's suddenly a self-styled defense expert and consultant on anti-terrorist strategies. She doesn't want any military bases closed in this country, because the most outlandish scenarios could present themselves and what's a nation to do absent an elaborate, redundant set of inter-service military bases?

She conjures up this rationale:

Among the things we may face over the next decade, as we all know, is another terrorist attack on American soil. But let's imagine the next one has many targets, is brilliantly planned and coordinated. Imagine that there are already 100 serious terror cells in the U.S., two per state. The members of each cell have been coming over, many but not all crossing our borders, for five years. They're working jobs, living lives, quietly planning.

Imagine they're planning that on the same day in the not-so-distant future, they will set off nuclear suitcase bombs in six American cities, including Washington, which will take the heaviest hit. Hundreds of thousands may die; millions will be endangered. Lines will go down, and to make it worse the terrorists will at the same time execute the cyberattack of all cyberattacks, causing massive communications failure and confusion. There will be no electricity; switching and generating stations will also have been targeted. There will be no word from Washington; the extent of the national damage will be as unknown as the extent of local damage is clear. Daily living will become very difficult, and for months--food shortages, fuel shortages.

Her harrowing scenario is amplified:

Let's make it worse. On top of all that, on the day of the suitcase nukings, a half dozen designated cells will rise up and assassinate national, state and local leaders. There will be chaos, disorder, widespread want; law-enforcement personnel, or what remains of them, will be overwhelmed and outmatched.

Impossibly grim? No, just grim. Novelistic? Sure. But if you'd been a novelist on Sept. 10, 2001, and dreamed up a plot in which two huge skyscrapers were leveled, the Pentagon was hit, and the wife of the solicitor general of the United States was desperately phoning him from a commercial jet that had been turned into a missile, you would have been writing something wild and improbable that nonetheless happened a day later.

And all this of course is just one scenario. The madman who runs North Korea could launch a missile attack on the United States tomorrow, etc. There are limitless possibilities for terrible trouble.

Then she brilliantly closes her sale to the American people:

So we are imagining America being forced to fight for its survival on its streets. How does this get us to base closings? On the day the big terrible thing happens there will of course be shock and chaos. People will feel the need for protection--for the feeling of protection and for the thing itself. They will want and need American troops nearby and they will want and need American military bases up and operating to help maintain some semblance of order. The very presence, the very fact of these bases will help in the big recovery.

That's what all these bases are going to be needed for. To help us survive a very bad time.

Did she write this in a bar at 2:00am after a bad day or a mugging? Was there a "Twilight Zone" marathon on this past week and she had a bad case of insomnia and became transfixed? Can menopause do this?

Tell you what, Peggy -- I'll meet you halfway.

Rather than closing permanently some of these facilities you're fretting about, we'll relocate them along the U.S.-Mexico contiguous border (except for naval bases, of course!) where they're definitely needed, because a grim scenario is already in play there -- namely, we're being invaded.

SOURCE: "OpinionJournal

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